March – 2021
Being himself exactly the Supreme Being, but thinking himself to be separate from Him, Jeeva strives to become united with Him. What is there stranger than this? – Ramana.
Is there even an iota of difference between Jeevaatma (the individual self) and Paramaatma (the Supreme Self)? “Absolutely not!” unanimously say all the Vedas.
तत् त्वम् असि | Tat tvam asi– = ‘That you are’ – says Chandogya Upanishad of Sama Veda.
अहम् ब्रह्म अस्मि| Aham brahma asmi– = ‘I am Brahman’- says Brhadaaranyaka Upanishad of Yajur Veda.
अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म| Ayam aatma brahma– = ‘This Self is Brahman’- says Mandukya Upanishad of Atharva Veda.
प्रज्ञानम् ब्रह्म| Prajnaanam brahma– = ‘This Consciousness is Brahman’- says Aitareya Upanishad of Rig Veda.
Vedas are unanimous in declaring the absolute Truth.
But wonder of wonders! Even when it is so clearly and explicitly declared, we refuse to believe or accept! Hence the Bhagavad Geeta says:
आश्चर्यवत् पश्यति कश्चितेनम् आश्चर्यवत् वदति तथैव चान्य: ।
आश्चर्यवत् चैनम् अन्य: शृणोति श्रुत्वाप्येनम् वेद न चैव कश्चित्||
(Some see It with wonder; some speak about It with wonder; some listen about It with wonder; and wonder of wonders – in spite of all these, none knows about It, even though It is one’s own Self!!)
Long long ago, in a kingdom of ancient India, a play was being staged in the royal court. The play was named “The Princess of Kashi.”
They wanted a cute little pretty girl of around five years to play the role of the princess of Kashi. A search was conducted in the kingdom to find the suitable girl for this role, but in vain.
The queen, seeing the dilemma, came up with the suggestion, “Why not dress up our little cute prince as the princess? He is five years of age. A boy or a girl looks very much alike at that age. Moreover, there is no much acting involved in this role. Why create such a big fuss about such a small issue?”
The suggestion was agreed upon by the drama-team. The handmaids of the queen soon busied themselves around the prince and they did a splendid job of dressing up the prince into an extremely charming princess of unimaginable beauty!
The play was over. Queen’s eyes were not satiated seeing her own son in the form of this charming princess! But alas! Now the make-up had to be removed and the princess would disappear forever. What can be an alternative?
An idea struck her. The best court artist was summoned. The painting was made. The artist after finishing the painting marked the date and the occasion on it: “The Princess of Kashi. Dated…”
Fifteen years passed by. By now, the handsome young prince had grown up. He was getting trained to take over as the heir of the throne. One day, while wandering through the palace, he found a set of stairs leading underground. Being curious, he followed the staircase. He reached an old store-room, dusty and full of cobwebs. As he was exploring the safely preserved artefacts and antiques, he chanced to come across the painting which read – “The Princess of Kashi”. He was mesmerized seeing the beauty of the princess. Seeing the date, he thought to himself, “By now, she must be of my age. If only I could marry her…”
The thought of the ‘Princess of Kashi’ possessed him. He lost interest in everything including food and sleep. His shyness did not allow him to disclose this matter to anyone else. But others found him lost in thoughts day and night. The king and the queen understood that something was bothering their beloved son. They asked the wise old minister, whom the prince loved very much, to find out what the matter was.
The wise minister approached the prince and had a friendly chat for a while. Finally, when the prince became cheerful and talkative, the minister, with all tenderness and love, asked him sweetly “My son, what bothers you?”
Prince: “I am in love.”
Minister: “That is so nice! Who is the girl?”
Prince: “She is the Princess of Kashi.”
Minister: “That is wonderful! But where did you meet her?”
Prince: “I have not met her. I have only seen her picture.”
Minister: “Where did you see it?”
The prince took the old man to the underground store-room. Brimming with excitement, he showed the painting to the minister. The minister, seeing the painting, became thoughtfully silent. Old memories flashed past his mind in a moment.
Now the minister was all in smiles.
He said: “O prince! This is not the Princess of Kashi!”
Prince: “Whoever she is. I will marry only her.”
Minister (smiling): “But you can’t marry her.”
Prince: “Why not? As per the date mentioned here, she must be of my age. ”
Minister: “True. But you can’t marry her!”
Prince: “Why? Is she already married?”
Minister: “No. But you can’t marry her!”
Prince: “Is she real or imaginary? Does she exist?”
Minister (laughing): “She is real. Yes, she exists, but you can’t marry her!”
Prince: “Do you know her?”
Minister (non-stop laughing): “Yes, very much! In fact, even you know her!!”
Prince (confused): “What??? Who is she?”
Minister (laughing aloud): “O Prince! You Are That! Tat Tvam Asi!!”
The prince could not believe his ears! He remained blank, transfixed, astonished!
He again stared at the painting, now with a renewed, enlightened vision. He mused “Yes. There is a similarity; the facial features of the princess match with mine. The minister must be right.”
Then the minister went on to describe the whole drama-incident that had happened 15 years ago. The reality gradually sank into the prince; and he, along with minister burst out with a hearty belly-laugh.
Needless to say, the misery, the infatuation of the prince was gone forever.
The story has a deep spiritual significance.
1. This world is the ‘Princess of Kashi’.
2. The prince felt that the princess would make him happy. So he desired the princess. In the same way, we are convinced that the world can give us peace, happiness and security. So we desire the world.
3. The prince realizes that he himself is the princess of Kashi.
The truth is, the world has no existence other than the Self. The Self alone exists, and upon the real Self, the illusory world is projected by the mind.
4. The moment the concept of ‘the other’ disappeared, the desire of the prince also disappeared. All desires come from the concept of ‘the other.’ When we realize that there is nothing other than the Supreme Self, all desires vanish.
5. True happiness lies not in fulfilling the desires, but in making the mind desireless. And the mind becomes desireless when it knows that ‘I am already what I desire.’
The world appears to give me Sat (existence), Chit (sentiency, life) and Anand (happiness, peace, fulfilment). But the truth is – Sat-Chit-Anand is already my nature.
Q= What happens when I know “I am already what I desire?”
A= All desires end.
With it, the mind ends. (Because the mind is nothing but desires.)
With it, the world ends. (Because the world is nothing but the projections of the mind.)
Q= What remains when the mind and the world end?
A= The Truth alone remains.
Q= What is that Truth?
A= Tat Tvam Asi. That You Already Are.
O M T A T S A T
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